How to sell more cars with live chat –  a car dealership’s guide into messaging

It’s a sunny weekend day and it’s busy at the local car dealership. You happen to be the owner of this car dealership because you’re passionate about cars, motorcycles and pretty much every other motor vehicle. 

In the past people just stopped by to look at cars and to book a test drive. But you’ve learned that more and more people are visiting your website as well to look at their next potential car.  A great new opportunity of course, since people are visiting your website also outside of your office opening hours. With your website you’re able to simply reach more people and more potential customers.

However, when a customer visits your physical car dealership location you’re able to have a chat with these people. You learn about what they’re interested in and sell them the right car. How do you do that online on your website? And how to make sure you don’t have to be there 24/7?

Live chat to connect with customers on your car dealership website  

First, let’s talk about how you connect with potential customers that visit your website. The trick here besides having a good website is live chat. This is a feature that can be added to your website that allows visitors to chat with you or one of your employees directly.   

A little pop-up on your car dealership website will appear, asking if the website visitors need help and telling them they can reach out to you at any time.

Live chat on your car dealership website makes sure that website visitors can easily ask questions about whether a car is still available, if maintenance is included or what money they can get back on their current car.Through the live chat feature, your website visitors can also book a test drive, see stock availability or schedule maintenance appointments. Basically you bring your website alive like you do in the physical car dealership location.

How to make sure you don’t have to stick behind your computer all the time to answer live chat conversations

What a potential drawback can be from having a live chat feature activated on your car dealership website is the fact you need to answer all those questions and all those conversations. 

Within live chat software, you often can set opening hours of the live chat feature in case you’re not behind your computer. But when running a successful car dealership you want to be in the showroom helping customers, and not behind your computer. And after a long day of hard work you definitely don’t want to sit behind your computer to answer live chat conversations. So what to do next? And how to benefit from live chat on your car dealership website without all the hassle?

There are several options to get live chat conversations handled without being behind the computer all the time.

Hire an live chat agent

If you don’t want to handle live chat conversation yourself, you can hire a live chat agent to do it for you. There are plenty of external vendors that offer these services. The downside however is that you need to pay the agent for the hours. And those bills can really add up. Another downside is that often such a live chat agent doesn’t have the knowledge and experience that you or one of your employees have. They don’t know the details of a particular car nor can they book maintenance appointments. 

Automate live chat conversations with chatbots

An alternative to hiring a live chat agent is to make use of automation and chatbots. A chatbot is basically a robot that automatically answers questions. It can have a whole conversation like humans have, but then in an automated way. 

There are different types of chatbots each with their own pros and cons. Although chatbot technology is improving fast, it either is not good enough to really help your customer or very complex and expensive to set up. 

Hybrid solution with automated reply messages and smart answer blocks

The third option to still use live chat on your car dealership website, but have it manageable and affordable is to work with automated reply messages and smart answer blocks. This is like a hybrid form between hiring a live chat agent and using chatbots to answer live chat conversations.

First let’s start with automated reply messages. This is an automated message that a potential customer receives when they start a live chat conversation. In this message you first of all thank them for reaching out, but also explain that you will come back to them within e..g the next 4 hours. This helps you to group all conversations and answer them all in once e.g. at the end of the day. By setting up a great automated reply message, you manage the expectations of the customer without hurting their experience while being much more efficient in answering all those conversations. 

Smart answer blocks are automatically generated answers you can send to the customer with just a click of a button. With smart answer blocks you don’t have to write answers to most common questions all the time. This saves a lot of time and makes answering to live chat conversations for your car dealership a piece of cake.  Smart answer blocks work with the same language recognition technology as chatbots do. This technology is called Conversational AI and can recognize what a customer is talking about. Based on that recognition, it proposes an answer. If needed, you still keep the ability to change or personalise the message before sending it.

To sum it up, using live chat on the website of your car dealership is a great opportunity. It does however require a bit more thinking and just turning it on and seeing what happens, but when done right it will be very effective.

Live chat for your car dealership helps sell more cars, book more maintenance appointments and ultimately make your customers even happier.   

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